By Lori Szepelak
SPRINGFIELD For 15 years, the Vietnamese community has benefited from a unique program through Mercy Medical Center.
The Vietnamese Health Project (VHP) serves more than 700 people annually, and provides hundreds of services to Vietnamese refugees and immigrants, according to Doreen Fadus, executive director of Community Health at Mercy. The VHP, a division of Community Health, works to reduce barriers and to increase access for Vietnamese people to prenatal, primary, pediatric and other maternal and infant health care.
During the past three years, the VHP has provided more than 6,847 case management encounters to Vietnamese families and individuals and has assisted in the case management and delivery of more than 100 Vietnamese babies, according to Fadus.
"The bilingual/bicultural case managers help caregivers and patients overcome the language and cultural barriers," said Fadus.
Fadus explained during an interview with Reminder Publications that case managers take individuals to physician appointments, provide health care education and community education of resources and assist with hospital visits.
"They are well-known throughout the community and are frequently called upon to participate in a variety of activities in the Vietnamese community," said Fadus.
Fadus added the long-term commitment of Sisters of Providence Health System (SPHS) to the VHP "reflects its commitment and core value to those who are poor." Mercy Medical Center is a member of the SPHS.
Thu Pham, a leader in the Vietnamese community, has been coordinating the program since its inception at Mercy and continues to ensure that the Vietnamese population receives both quality and accessibility in their health care, said Fadus.
Mercy Medical Center's staff, health providers and members of the community joined together to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the VHP on Feb. 18. Mercy's nutrition department provided a luncheon of artichoke chicken, rice, stir-fry vegetables, eggrolls, salad and cheesecake which was attended by close to 70 area residents.
The celebration luncheon featured remarks by Sister Kathleen Sullivan, RSM, Senior Vice President, Mission, SPHS; MyDzung Chu, Commonwealth Corps member serving with Health Care for the Homeless, part of Mercy's Community Health Department; Vincent J. McCorkle, FACHE, president and CEO, SPHS; Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno; and Pham, VHP project coordinator. The afternoon celebration culminated with a traditional performance by the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Society.
For more information on the VHP, contact Pham at 748-9065 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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